Israel and Gaza

July 26, 2014  https://i2.wp.com/i1.ytimg.com/vi/h9Q_8ZrYku4/hqdefault.jpg

Since I am sometimes an opinionated old lady and this is my blog, right off the bat I will tell you that, in my opinion, what is being done in Gaza (and has been done, periodically and fairly methodically) by the Israeli government is not self-defense, but the slow murder of the Palestinian people. We are told that they are targeting Hamas and other military targets with precision bombing – pinpoint precision is the term, I believe, that has been bandied about – and not targeting civilians. We are also told that, of the 900+ Palestinian dead (as of this morning), over eighty percent are civilians – mostly, women and children. So, in my opinion, either their targeting is neither pinpoint nor precise, or they are deliberately targeting civilian populations.

As I said, this is my opinion. You, dear reader, are free to disagree. You are even free to post your opinion in the comments section – respectfully. If you do otherwise, or if you appear to just want to start an argument, I will remove both your post and the ensuing argument.

Having said that, I would like to continue this post with some information for your consideration that is not just my opinion, but historical facts – some of which, as a person approaching seventy-four, I remember from events taking place during my own life. I have spent a lot of time this last two weeks reviewing that history from various sources, following references, etc. to determine the accuracy of both what I remember from my childhood and the history I was taught or read for myself through the years.

*****

Being Jewish and Following Judaism

A Jew can be a physical Jew (born to a Jewish mother – Orthodox – or father if the child opts for Jewish identification – Reform) or a religious Jew (follows or converts to Judaism if not born a Jew). If you have/had only a vague understanding of “Jewishness” as I did, it’s well worth doing some reading at this site. A more detailed explanation (as well as a good deal of information about their history, etc.) can be found here http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

Zionism

Zionism is a secular political movement founded in the latter part of the 1800s to advocate for a Jewish homeland in what was then Palestine. Although there is a religion branch of Zionism, Judaism and Zionism are not synonymous. One is a political movement based on the desire for a homeland for the Jews one is a set of religious beliefs that guide the Jewish faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism It’s important to make that distinction, because most Palestinian resistance to “Israel” was, at least initially, to the Zionist politicians and settlers that, especially after the division of Palestine into the areas that were intended to become the two states of Palestine and Israel, they felt were determined to crowd them out of ever more of that territory that had been designated for them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine

History of Palestine and Israel

Much of what I was taught as a child about Israel and Palestine, indeed much of what I learned while growing up, was based on the Biblical accounts. But there are other historical accounts based on both the Jewish Talmud and other non-religious Jewish accounts as well as both biblical and secular archaeological evidence.

A good deal of what I read on my own, over the years, challenged some of those religious accounts. And, in looking through information on the internet – to refresh what I’ve read, or remembered from events that occurred during my lifetime – a good deal of it is frankly biased to one or the other of the two populations. So I’ll give you pertinent references in Wikipedia (which I found to be fairly unbiased) and you can read what you want of the histories presented there and follow what citations you find to your interest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah

But, Linda, the Palestinians Are Terrorists

It’s often been said, that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Most “terrorist” groups don’t think of themselves as terrorists, though they certainly use terror and violence as a means to an end. It is usually the nations or Empires they are reacting against (and their allies) who designate them as such. And you may be surprised to learn that this is as true for the Jewish groups of “freedom fighters” leading up to the recognition of Israel as a state in 1948 as it has been for the various Palestinian groups – including Hamas – that have led to the current crisis in Gaza. I remember when the various groups in the Jewish Resistance Movement – especially Irgan and Lehi, but also Palmah and Haganah – were considered terrorists and declared so, by the UN, Britain and the US. This was especially true after the bombing of the British Headquarters in the King David Hotel – which I also vividly remember from news paper accounts in 1946. (Yes, I was a very precocious and voracious reader from the age of four and a half years.) Yet, it forced Britain to withdraw from the Palestine Mandate and two years later, Israel was declared a state – which I also vividly remember.

So, again, I will just refer you to a couple of Wikipedia articles and an archival letter from Albert Einstien and other Jewish scientists to the New York Times and let you follow where you may. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist_political_violence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_political_violence https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948

*****

As someone who was raised a Christian, I was taught about the plight of the Jews and well remember the great rejoicing among my and other Christian families when the State of Israel was born. I remember the sick horror I felt as a child, seeing the pictures from and reading the articles about the concentration camps of the Nazi Holocaust. Even when I became an Atheist, I never questioned the veracity or the horror of those events. I do not question them now.

I do, however, question as propaganda much of what the US and the government of Israel put out about what is going on in Gaza these days and what has gone on in the contemporary Palestinian territories for quite some time, now. And it horrifies me, in the same way the Holocaust did, to see the Israeli government (and some individual Israeli Jews) carry out a similar, if smaller, extermination of Palestinian civilians or rejoice over it. I cannot accept that “Never Again” is justification for such behavior from the recognized government of a people I was taught to respect and rejoice with over the founding of their homeland, after their own long and terrible history.

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14 Responses to Israel and Gaza

  1. *C* says:

    I have been following this issue in recent years . . . and I totally agree, Linda!

    Thanks for posting about it.

  2. So what would the appropriate action the Israeli government could take in being fair to the Palestinians? Let the rockets fired by Hamas; however less lethal than the Israeli weapons, land in Israel unanswered? Open the borders so Hamas can rearm, equip from Egypt, or bus bomb Tel Aviv? Give the land back to the Palestinians? I guess what I’m asking is, what’s fair to everyone in this region?

    • theozarker says:

      William, I’ll answer your questions and you can accept or reject it, but I will not argue with you over that answer:

      Israel can remember it’s beginnings, because nothing- literally NO thing that Hamas has been accused of doing to trying to free the area of Palestine the Palestinians were promised in the 1947 agreement (that led to Israel establishing its status as a nation), wasn’t done by Israeli “terrorist” groups to Britain and Palestinians over the decade or two preceding the British withdrawal from the Palestine Mandate (including being designated as terrorists by UN, US and Britain.)
      And, quite honestly, Hamas presents no more of an existential threat to the nation of Israel than Israeli terrorists did to Great Britain and the indigenous Arab population back in those days. Britain could have pounded them into dust by bringing the full weight of their military (and probably ours) against them. But they did not. They withdrew; Israel was recognized as a nation a year later. The Israeli “terrorists” were absorbed (for the most part) into the IDF.
      The Israeli government could do that and stop the “terrorism” in its tracks. But they’ve propagandized their people into believing that Hamas is some giant threat; that they can’t trust the Palestinian people (who, after all, elected Hamas to represent them in a free and fair election); that if they give one inch, Hamas will take a mile.
      Frankly, Hamas has been a lot more faithful in keeping the cease fires (including the one that preceded this mess) than Israel has.
      So, as I said, Israel could look honestly to its own struggle for nationhood and the terrorist campaigns it carried out to achieve it and do what Britain did for them instead of pounding them into the dust and killing thousands of innocents every couple of years.

  3. I’m reading The lemon Tree. It is very good and is a fair-handed look at both sides of the issue.

  4. Madnsassy (Lois) says:

    Great writer and a hero, Linda.

  5. graveday says:

    People who say it is just too confusing and such a mess it will never go away just have not bothered to look at the machinery of empire. But even empire forgets the empirical and cannot control the outcomes due to mere chance. Something about the arc of history bending, however slowly.
    I’m thinking MLK read H.G. Wells “Outline of History” closely.
    Great essay Linda.

    • theozarker says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to step outside your own anger when you’ve been the abused. But if you can’t, you become the abuser – whether you’re an individual or a nation. Anger can protect you up to a point, but it can destroy you and those around you if you can’t move on and make peace with it.

  6. graveday says:

    A friend maintains anger is like taking poison hoping the hated one dies.

  7. ebrew79 says:

    I could not agree with you more! Proportionality does matter and in this conflict one side has the hammer and one side doesn’t. In no way would I sit here and defend all of Hamas’ actions, but the behavior of the Israeli Government has given rise to Hamas, particularly the blockade of the Gaza strip. United States politicians, including the current President and his immediate predecessor have shown that they are willing to do the biding of organizations like AIPAC which means that the current situation will continue. Extremely infuriating.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi ebrew, welcome to the blog. Thanks for your comment. Seems to me that, if -as the Israeli Government says – Palestinian civilians are fair game “because they elected/supported Hamas”, then Israeli civilians should also be fair game, because they elected the Zionist government to represent them (though they certainly don’t represent all Israeli citizens or even all Jewish people any more than Hamas represents all Palestinians). And, of course, as in so many places of conflict around the globe, the Imperial Government (that no longer represents many of us) keeps stirring the pot.

      It’s disgusting and heartbreaking at the same time. Wish I could wave a magic wand, but, alas, I cannot. 😦

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